Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said Senate Republicans have “acted like thugs” in threatening to prevent a prominent consumer advocate – or anyone else – from heading a new consumer-protection agency.Poor Bawney is obviously testy these days.
Frank, the senior Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, criticized Republicans’ vows to hold up the confirmation process until their concerns with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are addressed.
President Obama is eyeing Elizabeth Warren – a Harvard academic who has long championed the creation of a stand-alone consumer-protection bureau – to head the agency when its work begins on July 21. But Republicans have threatened to gum up the confirmation proceedings until the bureau's powers are curtailed.
A letter from 44 Senate Republicans to Obama earlier this month outlined their demands, including the creation of a board to replace the single director in overseeing the bureau.
The New York Times recently reported recently that, facing a stalemate, Warren was being urged to consider a Senate run in Massachusetts instead – which Warren's camp has downplayed.
Frank on Thursday said Warren would be a formidable force in the Senate, but he'd prefer to have her as head of the consumer-protection bureau.
"She'd be a good Senate candidate, but she would be a uniquely valuable director of the [consumer] bureau," Frank told The Hill, noting that Warren has been fighting for years "to get this bureau up and running."
"If the Senate Republicans had not acted like thugs and announced they would [block] the confirmation process, I would have wanted the president still to appoint her," Frank said.
More on Warren here.